2020 elections/Forum for candidates to represent Kansas in the US Senate 2020-07-25

Forum for candidates to represent Kansas in the US Senate held 2020-07-25
A forum for candidates to represent Kansas in the US Senate was held 2020-07-25. It was organized primarily by Darnell Hunt of the Kansas NAACP. Technical support was supplied by Bob Grove of the Climate Council of Greater Kansas City and the Deportation Defense Legal Network. A rush transcript of this forum is available below.
This transcript should not be considered authoritative; please consult the companion video in case of questions about what was actually said and correct any errors.
You are invited to add links and notes to credible sources. Please post further discussion with the article to the associate “Discuss” page or to a “Discussion” section following the transcript.

TranscriptEdit

Kenya Cox 00:00

Hello, good afternoon, and welcome to the candidate for Kansas US Senate virtual forum. I'm Kenya Cox, President of the Kansas State Conference of NAACP branches and on behalf of the nearly 2000 members, I bring you greetings on this afternoon. We all know that this is a pivotal election year. We are fighting for the heart and the soul of our nation, our communities, and the lives of our children. This is the fight for freedom and equality that we dare not lose. That is why it is so critical for us to work together to maximize our collective impact. And today's forum is a testament to that: a nonpartisan, interfaith, diverse organizational effort to allow members of our community the opportunity to be better engaged and more informed. I want to thank you again for joining us today. And I now invite Dr. Glenda Overstreet Vaughn, the former Kansas NAACP president and the current chair of our political and social action committee to further share with you the importance of this election. Thank you.

Glenda Overstreet 01:19

Thank you, Madam President. I don't need to tell you just how vitally important it is to vote in the primary, as well as the general elections this year. In June, the Kansas Secretary of State's office reported more than 142,000 Kansans had applied for advance ballots for the August 4th primary. That far exceeds the 54,000 requested at the same point in the last presidential election year.[1] So as Kansans we get it. We no longer are tolerant of divisiveness and strife. We are letting our votes actually speak for us. If you have already been active in helping to get your community registered to vote, thank you. Please continue your efforts. Now it is imperative to ensure that those registered get to the polls. You can help by following up with the others on whether they have turned in their ballots. We've got a lot of work to do to ensure we perform.

Glenda Overstreet 02:28

Let's not forget and let the deaths of George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and Dominick White and many others go in vain. We've got a lot to do in education. Let's make cultural competent curriculum a requirement along with the inclusion of the 1619 project. We've got a lot to do in healthcare. We cannot go silent while the lives of our loved ones are at risk. We definitely have a lot to insure the growth of our economy. During COVID African Americans continue to have the highest unemployment rate, even during a time when the economy was strong. Now it's time to fan the flames to ensure that we are at the table of making decisions for our health, our education, and our welfare. More African Americans, as well as other candidates are stepping up and running for office from precinct committee chairs to the Senate and House of Representatives. Let's continue this momentum. Everyone can get involved in the most important civic obligation we have. Reach out to your friends, your neighbors, your family, and encourage them to vote on August 4th. Follow up with them to see if they have advance vote, absentee vote or assistance to the polls. Check on 18 year old voters to see that they know how to properly vote. Educate voters on the issues, make phone calls and urge people to vote. Distribute literature to help people become more informed. Utilize your Facebook and Twitter to get voting information out and attend webinars on getting more information regarding how powerful your vote is. Everyone has a role to play. Let's lift up those who fought, died, and shed blood to ensure that we are able today to cast our vote. And so thank you for doing your part.

Glenda Overstreet 04:26

It is now my pleasure to introduce Ms. Vanessa Vaughn West as our moderator for today's candidate forum. Ms. Vaughn West serves as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Lathrop Gage Law, a law firm that provides a full spectrum of services across the intellectual property, litigation and transactional disciplines. She is the former Community Relations Manager for the city of Olathe, Kansas, and brings nearly 20 years of experience in roles focused on diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, community resources and relations and communications. Ms. Vaughn West earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in communications from the University of Missouri in Columbia, and is also a Certified Public Manager. She is also actively involved in community leadership roles. And I would like to turn the platform over to Ms. Vaughn West.

Vanessa Vaughn West 05:37

Thank you, Dr. Overstreet. It is my pleasure to be here. And I thank the NAACP, and all of its leaders and community members behind this event for inviting me to join you. Throughout the day, today, my hope is to be a facilitator as we continue this dialogue, learning about our candidates and understanding their platforms. Before we get into today's discussion. I wanted to begin by reviewing some of today's rules, as well as thanking the important participants who have made today's event possible. As we move into acknowledging our sponsors, let me first recognize the following individuals who have contributed to this event. First we have the Climate Council of Greater Kansas City, climategkc.org. You are watching their live stream of this debate this form right now on YouTube. And I want you all to know that this event is being recorded and you will be able to revisit it and to take a look at the candidates and their answers as we move forward. I am having a bit of technical difficulties right now. So I will have to come back to checking our sponsors and our partners for this event. But I do want to thank all of them for their support, and for helping us to be able to stream this event for you today.

Vanessa Vaughn West 07:07

As we move forward, it's important to recognize that we will have a series of questions that are presented to our candidates who are with us. Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer each of those questions. In a two minute format, they will be given a 15 second reminder when we are getting close to time, and then we will move on to each question. Unfortunately, we're not able to take questions from the audience. But I know that many of you have submitted questions in advance, and we thank you for that. Today's topics will include things related to the Black Lives Matter movement, climate, COVID-19, and many other issues that are facing our community today. As we begin, let's go ahead and meet our candidates.

Vanessa Vaughn West 07:50

We'll begin with a two minute introduction from all of our candidates, and I asked them to briefly summarize a little bit about themselves, why they're running, and some of the key points that they would like for us to know today. First, we will start with Kansas Senator Barbara Bollier. Thank you for being here. The floor is yours.

Barbara Bollier 08:09

Vanessa, thank you. And thanks to the NAACP for hosting this event. Welcome to you all to my study. And thank you for welcoming me into your homes. Such a unique time. I'm running for US Senate. I am working to address those challenges that are facing black families across Kansas. Those include the cost of health care, the quality of our kids' public schools, and of course, access to affordable childcare. And challenges don't stop there. You and I know for too long, our criminal justice justice system has really failed black Kansans. And unfortunately, Washington is just too divided by partisanship to tackle this problem. And it is high time that we had that end. And me, I became a physician to improve people's lives. And I went into public service to fix things that were broken. And I will be a senator for Kansas that does both things. Do know, this is an ongoing conversation. As a doctor, I absolutely know the importance of listening before speaking. And today, I truly look forward to hearing your concerns, your ideas, your priorities, and want you to know this is a conversation. And I really look forward to leaning into it, and I really hope you do as well. So thanks for having me today. And thanks for taking the time to learn about us.

Vanessa Vaughn West 09:42

Thank you so much. Our next candidate will turn to Mr. Dave, would you like to go next, Mr. Dave Lindstrom?

Dave Lindstrom 09:54

Yes, thank you Vanessa. My name is Dave Lindstrom. And I am not the typical politician that Kansas is used to seeing. I played defensive end and then in the NFL for nine years. And I can tell you this: I know how to mix it up in a hostile environment. And that's exactly what Washington is these days. We live in a dangerous world. And business as usual by career politicians is not a viable answer. This job is going to take toughness. This job is going to take grit. I want you to know that I successfully ran my own business for 25 years. And I didn't succeed by spending more than I took in, which seems to be the standard operating procedure. And government these days, I decided to run for the United States Senate, because I believe the country is under attack. I think we're under attack when we have people in Washington calling for socialism as an economic way forward in this country. That's not what I believe in. I believe in capitalism. I believe we're under attack when we have people In Washington calling for open borders. Now, I believe we need to reform our immigration program. We need to have immigration here. But we are a sovereign nation. We are country of laws, and we need to secure our borders. And finally, I ran for United States Senate, because we are spending trillions of dollars a year more than we take in, which is unsustainable. And that's both on the Republicans and on the Democrats. When I retired from football, my wife, Mary, and I, we could have lived anywhere in the country. We chose to live in Kansas because we believe that this is the best place to live, to work and to raise a family. And I'm not willing to stand idly by and watch the quality of life in Kansas taken away by short sighted politicians who looking to just climb the next rung on the ladder, who are looking to get elected or reelected so that they can be somebody. Folks, Washington desperately needs to Change. I want to go to Washington to help that change. My goal is to be your next US Senator, go to Washington DC help whoever's the president there and be that change for the people of Kansas. Thank you very much.

Vanessa Vaughn West 12:22

Thank you. Mr. Lindstrom. We'll now turn it over to Mr. Gabriel Robles. He joins us on the phone. Please take two minutes to introduce yourself and to tell us why you're running for the office today.

Gabriel Robles 12:36

Thank you. My name is Gabriel Mark Robles. I'm 59 years old. I'm married to my wife Bonnie. Our 14th anniversary is coming up. We didn't necessarily choose to move to Kansas, but after suffering many injustices by our state and government, we decided, even though we really couldn't afford it, to run for the Senate, because we think that people need to know what what is really going on in this country. We are getting close to elitism or an aristocracy as far as our Congress is concerned, both the Senate and the House. And we say that because we have personal views on that based on our, our lifestyle and the way our lives have become, we are poor. I'm a victim of the Veterans Administration scandal, which currently continues to go on. My wife was hurt at at work based on being bullied by a non American illegal workers. And we've had to go before the courts numerous times for these injustices. And we find that even the judges, both local and government, I should say federal judges, are involved in this conspiracy against the rights of citizens. We have documentation in the courts. And we just want to put an end to the corruption in our government, the aristocracy in our Congress and the persistent and the persistent racism against minorities in this country. I'm a Mexican-American, and the majority minority in this country is Mexican-American. But I grew up, we both grew up, around African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and, just a variety of different people. So we've dealt with quite a few people, that the injustice through our judicial system: It just goes to show people that immunity or qualified immunity needs to be abolished. And people including judges, have to be held accountable to the law, just like every other citizen. Thank you very much.

Vanessa Vaughn West 15:20

Thank you, Mr. Robles, for sharing your initial opening remarks. We'll now turn it to Brian Matlock. And Brian, the floor is yours.

Brian Matlock 15:28

Hello, my name is Brian Matlock, and I live in Kansas City, Kansas with my wife, Adrian, around the corner from our daughter, Shelley, who we adopted at age 16. And basically, I teach economics at UMKC and have been researching that. And what got me into this: I sort of don't like the what politics looks like today, like a lot of us. And thinking about my parents as an example of what it means to be a good Republican and a good neighbor that I don't think there is enough of today. They were constantly opening their homes to others, donating, volunteering, helping out their neighbors. And I've tried to live out those values my entire life. I initially was a minister, and then got into lots of nonprofit and community work. And in Kansas City, Kansas, I am extremely attuned to and passionate about issues of racial justice. I've spent four plus years working in a local black-led organization to address some of the inequalities with redlining that are still here. And basically, as I continue to learn more, I got into economics to understand some of these large scale economic problems. And we've had increasing health care, housing, and education costs for over 40 years, while wages have been stagnant. And so Initially, this is a unsustainable situation moving forward. But then with COVID, that's been exacerbated. We see tens of millions expected to lose insurance during this time, and unemployment. And so as an economist, I know the tool set and I will act decisively to fix some of those structural issues in our economy. Trying to build a new coalition, I'm running as a Republican socialist. sounds crazy, but a lot of Republicans, I think distrust big business as much as big government, have our best interests at heart, and a lot of us and small town and rural values. We know we should take care of each other and pitch in. And so I think there is a new coalition we can form to get past the partisan gridlock. And I'm very excited to speak with you all, today. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 17:57

Excellent. Thank you all again, everyone's passion certainly comes through as you began to tell us a little bit about yourselves, and I'm sure that that will continue to shine throughout today's conversation.

Vanessa Vaughn West 18:09

The first question that we want to turn to is one that is at the forefront of many people's minds. It is related to the COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting us in many, many different ways from its impact on community public health to its impact on schools, and families as well. And so as we as we think about the pandemic, and as we consider all of its many impacts, what measures Do you believe we need to take as a nation in order to minimize the damage from COVID-19 and to improve our ability to respond to other major health crises that may be affecting our society. And Brian, we'll go ahead and begin with you on this one.

Brian Matlock 18:56

All right. Yes. So the crisis affects us, both with health and unfortunately, we've had one of the worst outcomes in the world. Our response has been woefully inadequate. You have extremely poor countries doing better with providing widely available testing and other sorts of things. And so we need to, of course, change our system. Like, imagine if this had been more deadly, where a higher percentage of people died, this would have been a catastrophe. It already is bad enough. And so, one, we need universal health care. I advocate for Medicare for all. I think, as we see tens of millions set to lose insurance. And people like to talk about, oh, people who don't deserve it or something like that. But some of our hardest working Americans are farmers or like in all of our retail workers. People all need health care. But like we kind of going through these insurance middlemen who kick back claims, just to see if they can get away with it and all of these things. $80,000 to $100,000, on average is spent per healthcare provider, just on billing collections, all these things. That would be an immense efficiency gain off the top to do that. And then you know, people won't be avoiding the doctor, they won't be avoiding those sorts of things, if they have healthcare.

Brian Matlock 20:29

And then also we need to address the economy. Like it people I think it's a it shows how desperate people are, that they are feeling the need to risk their lives to go back to work. And it doesn't need to be like that. The crisis happens at three primary levels: Individuals, we're seeing people at risk of eviction. We're seeing consumer spending going down. And then at businesses. And also at state and local governments we're about to have an enormous budget shortfall, which the federal government should stabilize. It is like there's no benefit to us sitting on our hands with empty businesses and unemployed workers, letting our infrastructure crumble, when we could put those resources together. So I believe in the federal jobs guarantee, I think that could help us right now with getting widespread testing, fitting public businesses and all sorts of things for safety in the midst of reopening the economy. And then as long as there is a crisis in the economy, people can be put to work doing useful things and then as the economy picks back up, they can be bid back out into the private sector. So those are some of the ... .

Vanessa Vaughn West 21:56

Thank you, Mr. Matlock. Mr. Lindstrom will turn to you next for your responses on this issue.

Vanessa Vaughn West 22:11

I believe you're muted if you could unmute yourself.

Dave Lindstrom 22:19

Is that better?

Vanessa Vaughn West 22:20

That's better. Thank you.

Dave Lindstrom 22:21

Yeah. Okay. Sorry.

Dave Lindstrom 22:24

I want to make sure that I have the question correct. But as it relates to COVID-19, and what I think the federal government could do, I think what we should do is we should make sure that relief packages of the federal government go to those people who really need it. I don't think that we should take advantage of this crisis to to advocate for things that aren't necessarily for the government to be addressing as it relates to our economy here and, and this pandemic. I think one of the more important things we do is bring manufacturing and PPE equipment back to this country. So we're not reliant on other countries for those kind of products and services. And then lastly, I think that we need to as a government encourage practical, trustworthy social practices so that Americans in home and in business can be safe.

Vanessa Vaughn West 23:23

All right, thank you so much. Next up on this question related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we'll turn to Mr. Robles. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Gabriel Robles 23:35

Well, I first thought is this: I would go back to the old term truth in advertising. What we are hearing from the media currently is just not true, some of the things they say. First of all, we have reports where they're saying everybody has taken a COVID test is testing positive. Secondly, in some areas they call it SARS COVID, which almost points to, and I don't want to alarm anybody, but it almost points to a biochemical attack that we've experienced our governments not telling us about. Most places don't call it SARS COVID. Our president has called it the Wu Han Flu and Kung Flu. And I'm surprised that people don't see they seem to be offended by Kung Flu, but they don't seem to be offended by Corona virus, even though as a Latino, I am offended by that. Considering it's supposedly a virus that came from China. The second thing is people taking advantage of the virus by price gouging. Especially we've had price gouging in healthcare for years and years. And this, in conjunction with this virus, is really dismantling our healthcare and the trust people have in our healthcare. Prices should reflect how much a drug costs to make, not how much profit a person that's making that drug can make. There's just so much greed in our in our country today. There was a movie out not too long ago where the comment was made, "Greed is good." And, as me and my wife are born again Christians, we just we just don't, that doesn't compute in our minds about people trying to get rich off of somebody else and and it being okay in our society. But I think if the media starts telling people the truth about what's really going on what's going on in our country, things will fix themselves. And the first truth they have to tell is what this virus really is. And if they didn't know what it really is, they need to stop calling themselves experts. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 26:10

All right, thank you for those remarks. And before we turn it to Barbara Bollier for her remarks, I do want to remind everyone about the importance of nomenclature and to be mindful of really staying away from disparaging remarks of nomenclature that could be construed as harmful to anyone or a certain group of people. So I want to then now turn to Barbara Bollier for your response to the COVID-19 pandemic question.

Barbara Bollier 26:44

You know, this has been one of the most difficult hard, things for all of us ever in our histories. And it's very challenging. Not one of us has not had our life affected by COVID. And I really empathize with all of us that were struggling. And we need to work together. So for me, I have been really troubled by our federal government's response to this pandemic. Honestly, as a doctor, I know that we need to follow science, CDC guidelines, and other health experts as we look at this problem and try to address it. It should not be politicized. And for me as a representative of the people of Kansas. I know they're justifiably very concerned about the health as well as the economic impacts of this virus. And knowing again, we've got to work together. We need to do things like keeping our economy functioning. And we do that by wearing mask and taking care of one another. Ultimately, the federal government must take responsibility. They need to test more people. They need to support small businesses. They need to take responsibility and help us all get the things done that we know we can do to end this virus.

Vanessa Vaughn West 28:12

Thank you. We're going to pivot a little bit and talk about climate change. I know that this is an important issue that many of our viewers have concerns about. And as we know, the rising average temperature of earth's climate system, often referred to as global warming, is driving changes in our rainfall patterns, our extreme weather, arrival of seasons, and more. So collectively, global warming and its effects are known as climate change. And I'm interested to know how you all as candidates believe the US should respond or not respond to climate change.

Brian Matlock 28:56

You've muted yourself.

Vanessa Vaughn West 28:59

I sure did. I'll go with Mr. Robles to take the lead on this answer. Thank you.

Gabriel Robles 29:05

Did you say Mr. Robles?

Vanessa Vaughn West 29:07

I did.

Gabriel Robles 29:09

Okay.

Gabriel Robles 29:11

I just actually because of, you know, my wife and our history, you know, and the history we take from from the Bible, God's Word, we've seen climate change, or, I guess, since time began. And we've heard of floods, earthquakes, so forth and so on. But with that, with that being said, the two things that I came up with, to prevent damage to our planet, not necessarily climate change but damage to our planet, is that we need to prosecute, severely prosecute, with no exceptions, people that pollute our waters. pollute our highways, and especially those that clear cut forest lands. And we should be in a partnership in that with other countries to make sure that, you know, they they also do the same as as we should do, which is prosecute these people to the fullest extent of the law. Because we know from experience that, you know, even though a lot of times we didn't necessarily do anything wrong, that prosecution and fines and so forth and so on, really are a good preventative tool to make sure people don't violate laws concerning pollution and littering. And that in turn will help climate change our, our current world events like the virus have actually shown that with people staying indoors and not being able to go anywhere, they have actually clean our waters and our air in some places. And I think when we learn to stop doing more than we have to do, and going more places than we have to go, in other words just, you know, stop embellishing on what wealth we have. And we can, you know, stop the unnecessary travel by plane, by car. And this virus is actually getting us used to stay at home. And hopefully that'll rub off even after the virus is gone. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 31:55

Thank you. What about Mrs. Barbara Bollier? What are your thoughts on climate change?

Barbara Bollier 32:02

Thanks for the question. I'm a doctor, and I follow science. And I do know that climate change and extreme weather are some of the most significant challenges facing all Kansans, especially including our farmers and ranchers. And honestly, for decades, the federal government has just neglected its duty to responsibly address this issue, and really, its root causes. And now we have really serious consequences. And we have seen drought in Kansas, then followed by flood. Devastating storms have really impacted our communities and especially our agricultural communities, who know how dependent they are on our climate to be successful. So when I know we need to reduce our carbon emissions. We can invest in very many more green energy projects, which I think look really forward to being able to help invest in, and specifically wind, which is something Kansas is a leader in. Of course, we can diversify our crops. And farmers are starting to do that. And we also really need to modernize our infrastructure. As we move forward and make sure that those things are becoming more green. And what I know about Kansas is we are very uniquely positioned to actually be leaders on these innovations in this issue of climate change. So I look forward to helping make that happen in Washington. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 33:39

Thank you. And let's see, we'll go next to David Lindstrom for comments on climate change.

Dave Lindstrom 33:49

Okay. Yes, thank you, Vanessa. I would say that although there are differing points of view on climate change, one thing that we all should and can agree on is that we need to be good stewards of our planet. Where we can be responsible, where there is data that supports efforts to efficiently and effectively improve our climate, we need to work on those things.

Vanessa Vaughn West 34:21

Thank you. And finally, Brian Matlock, would you be able to close us out on this issue?

Brian Matlock 34:28

Yeah, absolutely. The climate is definitely something I'm passionate about. And it is really unfortunate that it's become so politicized. I think we can all look. We know that fossil fuels are finite. They make our water quality worse, our air quality worse. And sooner or later, we'll have to replace it. We've seen plastics have only been in existence for a single generation. And already it is piling up around the world filling our oceans. We can't keep kicking these problems down the road. We have to deal with them. And that is why I support a Green New Deal. And big picture, what that is, and still like it's not even that big of a document and we have a lot to fill in. But it's saying we need to address those issues. And as long as we're going to be transitioning from fossil fuels, transitioning to a more sustainable farming system agriculture, what is our vision, like what type of country and society do we want to build? And how can we address some of the like, inequalities and structural problems. Individual businesses with regard to the climate: It is one of the most classic examples in economics of where you have a bad incentives as an individual. If you pollute the river and dump toxic chemicals instead of paying to remediate them, you save money. And if you pay to remediate them, and you're you're going to lose, because you offer a more expensive product. And so it gets to where no one feels as an individual. Well, if I don't do it, someone else will. And so it incentivizes bad behavior. So we cannot trust businesses or markets to do what needs to be done with taking care of our environment. And so we need to address it through direct investment by having green technologies. That is how we set up future generations to succeed. And also like Kansans, I think, should be a part of designing what this looks like. Like our farmers, most of them know like, they wish I could turn back time. 40 years like when we had closer knit communities and things like that. As we've turned to industrial agriculture, it's depopulated a lot of those areas. Bigger and bigger farms. But farmers are more and more in debt and struggling and it went from manure could be a fertilizer to now It's like these industrial feedlots. It becomes toxic to the environment. We can address all those things. And how do we dream for what like our country can be like after we start, like fixing and transitioning, so let's do it.

Vanessa Vaughn West 37:18

All right. Thank you, Mr. Matlock for those remarks. And thank you all for your your thoughtful remarks on that issue.

Vanessa Vaughn West 37:25

Another very important issue within our country, and especially to the NAACP and the partners who come together for this event, is that of Black Lives Matter. As you all know, there is a national outcry going on and as well as protests across the country following the unjust killing of George Floyd and against excessive use of force by some of our nation's law enforcement. Calls for an end to police brutality and the need for reform in policing are reverberating through our nation. So what reform If any, do you think are necessary to address these challenges? And we will turn this first to Barbara Bollier.

Barbara Bollier 38:11

You know, it's not just George Floyd. It's Sandra Bland right here in Kansas. Tragic times. And America is crying out for reform. And too often, we've seen from Washington that as public pressure wanes, they choose to just move on rather than taking meaningful steps. And we must guarantee equality under the law that our Constitution guarantees to all Americans. We need to do that. So for me, I support building on the bipartisan First Step Act. If you haven't looked it up, do. It supports reforms in the Justice in Policing Act. And it includes things like banning chokeholds and reforming qualified immunity. It places limits on transferring military grade weapons to the police force. And it would ultimately end the use of those "no knock" warrants. Those are just some of the things, reforms that are so, so needed. And we need to do even more. We need to find equality in our criminal justice system. And just as a start, we should decriminalize marijuana. And we should reconsider, reevaluate our mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. And we, for all of us who are in need, we absolutely need to increase funding for public defense attorneys so that we can level the field and have equality for our defendants. So there are many places to go, that we can have reform and it's time to get that to happen. And we shouldn't be looking behind us. We need to look forward to getting these things done. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 40:04

Thank you. Mr. Lindstrom. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Dave Lindstrom 40:10

First of all, thank you for the question. I really appreciate it. I want you to know, I want your listeners to know that I spent a career, a career in sports, in an endeavor, with the majority of people that I work with, didn't look like me. And in that arena, we were not judged by the color of the paint on our car, the color of the paint on our car. We weren't. We were judged by our performance and our contributions to the success of the entire team. And in that, in that environment, you you quickly realize that 100% of your efforts fully depend on the foundations of that ideal. Nothing else. So we can come up with all these different these different resolutions and laws and PACs to do this, to do that, to try to level the field. But until we understand that it doesn't matter what color your skin is. It matters how you can affect the team in this country. That's what we need to do. That's what we need to do. We need to be talking about those type of things, so that everyone has the same criteria, and we can end this discrimination.

Vanessa Vaughn West 41:37

Thank you, Brian Matlock. I'd love for you to weigh in at this time on your thoughts on this question.

Brian Matlock 41:45

Yeah, we absolutely need changes. And this is not just about some police over there. This is about our whole society. And that is why this issue has been such a lightning rod, because it represents the larger systems of injustice that are faced. And currently, like some of the some of the problems are we as a society deal with too many of our social issues by making things illegal locking them up, and assuming it'll work itself out. We see this with homelessness, addiction, mental health, like drug addiction, and all sorts of things. And what the problem is, is that tendency is like both very expensive and it's not effective, actually reducing crime rates or having healthy, functional, productive people. But this whole system of locking up more people than any other country on earth has been an absolute travesty in the in the face of residential segregation red lining and racism within our society, because it's so it's like saying, okay, we're going to completely disinvest and like damage your community and all of these ways. But then, with all the social problems that come up, we're just going to start locking people up. We need to take the lead of people who have been most affected in determining what the way forward is. That's a restorative justice model, those most effective that should be closest to the solutions. And we need to be willing to replace like to actually say, Okay, what is the most effective way of dealing with this problem and what is the most efficient way. Because things like, in Kansas, we had a program actually multisystemic therapy where instead of juvenile justice system, locking people up, if they were, unless they were an active danger to themselves or others, they would have a social worker, work with them in their homes, because it's almost always anti social behavior is there's something going on at home or there's some trauma, we need trauma informed. And so they would work with them in their homes, work with them with their teachers in school, and the recidivism rates went way down. It was cheaper. And there, there are so many things like that in our society where we can change how we approach things, so that we can, because it's not safe for the population or the police to to be constantly in conflict. And if we're addressing more of the root problems will have less crime and less issues in general, and that will be safer for everyone. So I think we have some very large scale structural changes that are needed and should be taking the lead of directly affected communities on doing that.

Vanessa Vaughn West 44:53

Thank you, Mr. Matlock. And finally, to wrap us up on this issue, I'll turn to Mr. Robles, Gabriel Robles, if you can give us your thoughts on this question.

Gabriel Robles 45:04

Yeah, this one seems to be right up my alley. In the late 80s in St. Cloud, Minnesota, I was asked to join the NAACP, and, of course, I did. At the time, I didn't know that new people and working class were kind of separated from the more affluent members. But that was okay with me. And in that situation where I was at, I was asked to investigate two issues of judicial bias against African Americans, which I did look into. And one of the guys got a settlement for the city of St. Cloud. He was a corrections officer from California, African American married to a white female. The other guy, I probably shouldn't say his name, but he simply just disappeared. I think he got a positive response from the judiciary and in St. Cloud also. I was actually scolding the judge in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, when Professor of Law Andrew Haines,[2] he's deceased now, notice me telling this judge off. And he in turn wanted me to help him investigate acts of police brutality against African Americans and other minorities, which we did. I carried a gun at the time. And him being a professor of law. It was like force meeting force. And we were very effective.

Gabriel Robles 46:57

The second amendment in this country is a very important, because I think just the fact that Professor Haines knew the law. And Professor Haines is like the storybook or was like the storybook person you see about or read about or hear about on TV. He was six foot six, African American, metal framed glasses, round, wore a bow tie. But he taught me a lot about the injustices in this country, especially with regard to minorities. There are laws on the books that prevent everything that's happened to people like Sandra Bland and George Floyd. And I actually made the term playbook referring to the FBI when I started to find out that there were three things that stood out in these killings of unarmed black men, this was back in 2000s, 2001, 2002. And the reason I called it the playbook of the FBI is because these three excuses for killing unarmed black men were coming up around the country, not just in certain places. And that's why I called it the FBI playbook. And it was obesity, unknown heart condition, drugs and alcohol in the system. And to me, that just seemed too coincidental. I made my thoughts clear. Years later, people started using the playbook thing a lot. And I'm sure, Mr. Lindstrom knows what I'm talking about when I say playbook. But anyways, the main thing in our politics today and in Black Lives Matters issues is censorship by the media. You can't go around that. It's always censorship of the media. A good example is my wife's father was killed by a police officer in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1966. This police officer was having an affair with her father's wife, shot him down like a dog is what a witness said, that was 14 years old. And when I talked to her, she scolded me because she thought I was a police officer. And she said, it's about time you guys did something about that case. That issue has been censored since 1966. That man, what would have been my father-in-law, was a racecar driver. He probably would have been famous in NASCAR today. But his life was cut short by injustice.

Vanessa Vaughn West 49:45

Mr. Robles. I hate to interrupt you. I'm so sorry. But we do, I do want to remind you that we do have a two minute time limit for our responses. So I'll give you five seconds to kind of wrap it up. But unfortunately, we're going to have to move on to the next question.

Gabriel Robles 50:01

Okay, I just think that people need to be elected that have been through what they're talking about fixing. And that's what I'm trying to do. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 50:11

Thank you. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 50:14

As we're talking about minorities, another group of minorities would be that of our immigrant population. So as as many historians know, 1965 was actually the last time America passed a comprehensive immigration law. So it's been a little bit as we know, the Supreme Court just this summer, made a ruling to uphold DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood arrival and elements of that, but this is still an issue that remains open. And so I wanted to get thoughts from all of our candidate candidates today on how we should address immigration in our in our country, and what provisions if any, would you advise that we make in terms of reforming the system? So Brian Matlock will begin with you on this one.

Brian Matlock 51:08

Yeah, I grew up in a family of pro immigration Republicans. I remember my mom would constantly, like, have people over. My grandma was a cook at a college and would have all sorts of people over. And she would say, like, I know if like I was in dire poverty, and I thought I could provide a better future for my kids like going across the border. I would absolutely do that. And I wouldn't judge anyone for doing that. And so I believe that we need to get past the scarcity mentality. That acts like there is not enough to go around. There's not very many jobs. There's not enough healthcare and things like that. Because immigrants, they can be providers of health care, job creators, all of these things. And so I support the renewal of DACA. We should decriminalize, make it a civil offense rather than a criminal offense to cross the border, undocumented. We should provide a pathway to citizenship. And I think if we start thinking about like, well, people are a greatest resource, like how do we build something amazing together with all these people? Like because currently, Kansas would be declining in population and our economy would be collapsing if we didn't have the influx of immigrants. If we did better planning and things like a job guarantee, which will protect against the downward pressure on wages, we could be doing a lot of awesome stuff and building a great Kansas together and so that's where I'm at on that.

Vanessa Vaughn West 52:52

Thank you so much. The next person we'll turn to for remarks on immigration will be Barbara Bollier.

Barbara Bollier 53:01

Great, well, Kansas is dependent on immigrants. We need them. But we have a broken immigration system, and it has reached a crisis point. And a lot of that problem is really partisan gridlock. And, since it's been since 1965, you can blame both parties. But I know there are things that we can find agreement on across parties. And for sure, the first thing we need to ensure is that we have strong borders and strong border security. So they need the ability at the border to be able to have vetting that's appropriate and they have to have resources to target dangerous criminals or others that enter illegally and we need for sure for a true pathway to citizenship for our undocumented immigrants. And, you know, many of them are already paying taxes. But if they haven't paid them all, let's have them repay what they need. Or if they've stayed out of trouble and they're doing the right thing, working hard in this country, we'll have a reasonable fine or something to get them in that path to citizenship. I absolutely support the American Dream and Promise Act.[3] And it was passed in a bipartisan support in the house late last year, but it's been held up in the city, I'm sorry, in the Senate. And, you know, there are 6,000 Dreamers in Kansas that they were brought here, not any fault of their own. And they went to school here. They grew up here. For all practicality, they are citizens here, except for a piece of paper. And we need to make sure that they have a path to citizenship. And for all that we've invested in them through their education and such, let's get them on the path to a good opportunity to help our economy and us as Kansans, where we need them. Lot to do, but very much can be done.

Vanessa Vaughn West 55:09

Thank you very much. And Mr. Gabriel Robles? What are your thoughts on immigration?

Gabriel Robles 55:17

Well, I guess I said this already once before. I'm a Mexican American. I grew up around immigrants. The immigrants I grew up around are not like the immigrants today. They couldn't say anything to anybody. They went to work. They checked how to get their citizenship. They did their jobs and that was it. They didn't bother anybody. Today, living in a sanctuary city area, as we have, me and my wife, and trying to work like working class people do, we find ourselves blackballed, you know, for lack of a better term. I got jobs because I looked like an illegal alien. And once they found out I wasn't, I lost that job real easy. One large plant in this area closed down, I think, because of mine and my wife's efforts to stop this kind of illegal activity. To me reform is just a catchphrase. There's no need for reform. It's as simple as what the United States Supreme Court called stare decisis, which means let it stand. In our case, we say let the laws as they are stand. Deport those that come here illegally and stop treating these people like they know what they're doing. Most of them don't speak English or read English, but yet they have they're given driver's licenses which have actually killed people on our roads. Just in closing about this issue, I'd like to tell people this. The Census tried to do the census this year on April Fool's Day. And that should tell people how our government treats our citizens. They think everything's a joke. As I said, the April Fool's Day would seem to complicate the fact that Mexican Americans are a large minority in this country. And they're trying to hide that fact by bringing people from Central America and other countries. And that's for the April Fool's Day situation came up, because they basically are saying "We're fooling you, and we don't care." Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 57:47

Thank you for your your perspective on that. And to close us out on the immigration question, I'll turn to Mr. Lindstrom.

Dave Lindstrom 57:56

Thank you, Vanessa. First of all, I want to I want people to know that what I did after I retired from the chiefs, I owned and operated a chain of fast food restaurants. I know what it's like to sign on the front of a check. I know what it's like to create jobs. I've hired thousands of Kansans over the years. And our turnover was 250% a year, which is devastating for a business. So we were constantly hiring folks. And and, as it relates to this question, I think we also need to secure our borders. We are a sovereign nation, we need to make sure we know who is coming and going from this country. But we have to have immigration we have to have a reform of the immigration.

Dave Lindstrom 58:42

When I started my business, I had to go to the bank to borrow some money. And the bank wants to know, they want to know three things: They want to know how much do you want, what do you want it for? And how quickly you're going to pay them back? I believe this country needs to formulate plan for immigration. I don't think we've done that. We need to know where we need immigrant workers. We need to know what countries are needing some assistance as it relates to people coming to this country through persecution. All of those things need to happen. And I don't think we do that. And as far as, and we need to do that. And I would bring that business acumen to the US Senate to to try to make sure make sure that we have a plan for to reform our immigration. And as it relates to DACA, DACA, in my opinion, is a direct abdication of the responsibilities of our Congress to do their job. That's why President Obama made the executive decisions he made, because Congress wouldn't make those decisions. As been previously mentioned, these folks have been living here. And so we need to look at that. But we need to make sure that immigration in this country is legal. Too many people do it the right way and are waiting in line. And people should not be able to cut to the front of the line.

Vanessa Vaughn West 60:08

Thank you for those impassioned remarks. Mr. Lindstrom. One of the things in your remarks is related to people living here. So for me, it makes sense that we transition to our next question, which is about housing.

Vanessa Vaughn West 60:21

According to the most recent census data in Kansas, 45% of renters and 22% of homeowners were considered housing cost burden, meaning that they are paying more than 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. What federal federal policies or programs would you put in place to increase housing security and access, to reduce evictions, and to prevent homelessness in Kansas and around the nation? We will begin this question by turning to Brian Matlock.

Brian Matlock 60:57

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, housing. is a severe issue. And that's actually, my wife is a PhD student in sociology, and housing policy is her area of focus. At all levels of society, we are seeing the incentive for people, business developers and things like that to be building luxury apartments and condos across the country. Meanwhile, more and more people are getting cost burdened. All of our new construction things is going for, like the top earners. But the rest of us are just struggling and having more and more trouble making ends meet. So for one, I think we need a quality public housing option available, like it used to be that we had very high quality public housing until they mainly had minorities in them and then they stopped Investing and maintaining those buildings and let them kind of fall apart. I think we also should be supporting community land trust being built to decommodify the housing, so that the prices are more stable. People are able to, like, kind of sell the property back to the land trust. I think there's like a lot of work being done with tenants rights organizations in the area, KC tenants and the homes guarantee. And I think those are extremely important conversations. And I think we need to figure out something, because markets on their own don't care about people's needs. You have demand if you have money. And demand is what drives what drives production.

Vanessa Vaughn West 62:57

Thank you, Mr. Matlock. And Mr. Lindstrom, we'll come right back to you on this issue of housing.

Dave Lindstrom 63:04

Yeah, I first of all, I don't know that I think this is a this is a federal issue. I would be more inclined to say, this is something that needs to go back to the states into local communities. And in that philosophy, I think part of what makes housing so expensive is the bureaucracy of local and federal and state governments. They're creating all these levels so that a contractor might buy a piece of property for let's just say $100,000. But by the time they go to get all the permits, to all of the limitations that they have to make sure that the building is safe, which they need to do, but all the bureaucratic legislation that creates additional cost, it makes housing unaffordable, so I think we need to make sure that this is back on the states and local communities. We have these and that we're limiting the bureaucracy of those governments to keep the cost down.

Vanessa Vaughn West 64:07

Thank you for clarifying your position on that. What about Mr. Robles, Gabriel Robles? What are your thoughts on housing?

Gabriel Robles 64:15

Well, it goes back to this case with the owner of an NBA team not too long ago is also a landlord. Where he was basically extorting money and sex off of people, under threat of eviction. We actually had to go through an eviction, where we were not allowed to present video and audio evidence in our case, to show that the landlord was basically a slumlord. So I hate to sound like a beating drum, but it always goes back to prosecuting those that have immunity or even qualified immunity. And as far as the question of the federal government being involved, yes. When there's corruption, like there is in housing, the US Attorney's Office needs to go or take these cases or allegations before a grand jury and tell them if these people should be indicted or not. Our constitution is the highest law in the land. And I think judges everywhere have decided politics is more important. So in order for people's housing to be intact, as our constitution says it should be intact, people that violate our constitutional rights need to be prosecuted. I don't care if they're a judge or a president or a governor. They need to be prosecuted for denying people's constitutional and civil rights. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 65:55

Thank you. And Miss Bollier, we'll have you wrap up remarks on the issue of immigration, I'm sorry, on the issue of housing.

Barbara Bollier 66:02

Thank you, Vanessa. And this is near and dear to my heart. I actually served with United Community Services on a coalition of people in a four county area to work on a public health issue that they had a grant for that. And we chose housing, affordable housing as a public health crisis in and around the city. And I know that it is everywhere, because people can't buy their homes and their outcomes of their health are being determined by their zip code. So we know like in Kansas City, Kansas, one in three families is in medical debt. And thus, then they can't pay their rent, and end up in collections, and that's not acceptable. And we have a living wage that is not, I should say a minimum wage, that is not a living wage. So there are things we can do from the federal level, such as making sure that when people work, they are paid a living wage so they can afford food and housing and medical care. We need to be sure that low income people, particularly people of color, have access to loans. As was brought up earlier, they need the access to capital, so that they can purchase their homes. And they're often restricted from that. And we know fence can reform criminal justice because once you've been in that system, you come out and it's very difficult then to get a job and apply for a loan and get the things you need to live. And so all of those things are things that can be addressed at the federal level. But we have got to work together to get that done and stop ignoring it. And so I know for me, whether it's Kansas City, Kansas or in Quinter, Kansas, wherever people need to be able to afford to live. And that includes us at the federal level, making sure they can earn an income, that they can then go ahead and have healthy lives.

Vanessa Vaughn West 68:16

Thank you. So one of the things that you mentioned in your response was medical debt. And that brings us to an important issue related to access to health care for all. And so

Vanessa Vaughn West 68:28

I'm interested to hear from the candidates, what you would recommend to approve to improve the quality and access of health care for all Americans. And if you could, within your response, talk a little bit but not limited to the issues of lost jobs and health insurance that has come about as a result of COVID and other other entities. So I will throw it to Gabriel Robles to lead us on with his response on this question.

Gabriel Robles 69:02

Okay. I almost feel like I've answered this before. It must have been my opening statement. But quality and access and health care in this country, it's all it seems like it's all gone into the greed stage, where everybody's just trying to make as much money as they can make. My wife suffered a heart attack on Easter Sunday this year. And we were thrown into this situation, where we believe that because we had Medicare that everything would be taken care of. That is so wrong. And I don't think people know this. Aftercare was non existent unless you had money and that you can afford a quote unquote, primary care doctor. So we basically were left out in the cold after she was released from the hospital. And from what she had to go through, and I had to go through because of this virus, not being able to be with her, not being able to go to the hospital with her, it was just outrageous. And it almost seemed like she was kidnapped. And when we see these commercials about these health care workers, concerning the virus and how they're heroes, and so forth, and so on. You know, unless you've actually been through it, and you're not on TV, you know, a lot of that is just a bunch of BS, because, as I said, basically they told my wife, you're on your own after you get out of here unless you can afford to pay a doctor to see you afterwards. And that was it. That's over. So as they told us from the hospital, we're on our own. And we've been that like that since she suffered a heart attack. It's a scary thing to have to live through. But it always comes down to greed and politics, and judicial bias and judicial racism, and judicial corruption that our healthcare system is the way it is. People, as I said before, need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, because they're actually by proxy killing people, our citizens. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 71:17

Thank you, and I am sorry for your your wife's recent health struggles, and I do hope that she continues to progress through her recovery journey. With that, I will turn it to back to miss Barbara Bollier to respond to this issue.

Barbara Bollier 71:34

You know, I became a doctor, so I could improve people's lives. And that's exactly why I went into public service. And we know, as a state legislator, health care has become unaffordable for everybody. And this has only become more apparent during this pandemic, especially as people are losing their jobs and then can't afford to either go on COBRA or pay into a new system. You know, for me, I have been working for over seven years to expand health care in Kansas, specifically by expanding Medicaid, so that over 150,000 working Kansans, most of them have access to health care. And that in and of itself would go a very long way for improving access to so many people and improve money going into local communities, particularly in our rural areas, so that their hospital can stay afloat. People need care. And I absolutely guarantee that as a US Senator, I will continue to fight to expand affordable health care, so that all Kansans can have that. And I want to know, if they want to keep their private insurance, I absolutely support that. What I'd like to see is a public option buy in that may be based on Medicare or Medicare like, but bottom line, they need affordability. And our goal is to ensure that all Americans, Kansans and all, can have an affordable health care option. And that is the number one issue I'm hearing from Kansans. And electing me, I'm the one I'm about listening to people and taking to the table, what they need fixed. It's time to get that done.

Vanessa Vaughn West 73:31

Thank you. Mr. Lindstrom. Your thoughts on this issue?

Dave Lindstrom 73:37

Yes, thank you, Vanessa. First of all, let me say that any healthcare system in this country, and you talk about accessible health care and it also needs to be affordable. It needs to be transparent, and it needs to be market driven. I would venture to say there's no one on this on this call today or in this Zoom call today knows what an X-ray cost. It's today our system is not based on patient outcomes. It's based on fees for services. And that's wrong. We need to know exactly what we're doing. Healthcare, I believe, is a commodity. And just like anything else, we ought to know how much it cost. And when we know how much it cost, it will be market driven, because it will be competition. And people will be able to weigh what what they want. I think any new plan needs to be based on patient outcomes. It needs to also include the right to try, so people who are in desperate health conditions, they need to have a right to try experimental drugs or procedures. I also think that any new program ought to include pre-existing conditions and the ability to have people, young people 26 years or younger, on their parents' plan to at least till they're 26. And then we need to make sure that plans are viable across state lines. And then also, we need to bring some of our manufacturing of prescription drugs back to this country. Those are some of the things that I would say, But mostly, mostly the market driven plans and transparency of our healthcare system.

Vanessa Vaughn West 75:30

Thank you. And then lastly, Mr. Matlock, if you could provide some thoughts.

Brian Matlock 75:40

Excuse me. Yeah, absolutely. We have by far the most expensive health care in the world and some of the worst outcomes of the developed world. This is an unacceptable situation. We go to the best outcomes in the world. Above age 65. Anyone care to guess what happens at age 65? We all go on Medicare. We are seeing, we are already paying for everybody. It's like you go to the ER, those costs are redistributed onto everybody. But as those are redistributed, more people can afford the premiums more people got insurance. And the process continues. As we're seeing, especially right now in the midst of the COVID epidemic. We need to cover everybody. And some of the things about like competition and markets like that will be much better if instead of going through these insurance middlemen who decide what care you get or not, instead, we get to go to the provider that offers the best care. So we can go anywhere in state anywhere out of state. And then we have the peace of mind. My wife went through cancer treatment. And it was before Obamacare was passed. So I didn't have insurance. She had student insurance, which had $100,000 max payout. Her treatment costs $400,000. So, and 20% copay. So by the time it was out, we hadn't even gotten through a fourth of the treatment, we owed $20,000 in debt, and they were saying like, you have to figure something else out or we're not doing the surgery. And so we ended up having to declare medical bankruptcy after the whole thing. And it is absurd to have people in those circumstances where at the worst time in your life, you're getting piles of bills, the insurances randomly rejecting claims -- they've testified in Congress, they do this to see if you'll fight it, just to save money. Putting our health in the hands of greedy people who make money when they deny us care is not the best option. If I believe we provide health care for all And then we also need to take on big pharmaceutical industry because we lost,

Vanessa Vaughn West 78:11

we lost.

Brian Matlock 78:12

So we pay to develop a lot of these medicines with public money, but then they're given the private companies, who get to make all of the profits and have intellectual property rights. So we pay twice, we pay the development, and then they're selling the meds for half price in Europe that our country they did develop. It's absurd and we need to take on the pharmaceutical industry. If it's public funds, it should be a public owns intellectual property.

Vanessa Vaughn West 78:48

Okay, thank you. Many of you all shared some very personal stories during the response to that question. So I especially think thank you for your vulnerability and sharing about your personal or family Health journey there.

Vanessa Vaughn West 79:03

One of our final questions today is going to be about voting. We're all gathered here to make sure that our citizenry is informed and is able to cast an informed vote during the election. And so

Vanessa Vaughn West 79:18

we wanted to ask specifically about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As you all know, this was a landmark legislation that was passed at the time. And since then, in recent years, there have been changes to that. What are your thoughts on the voting rights act? Do you support it? And if so, or if not, please tell us why. And I think for this question, we'll begin with Mr. Lindstrom.

Dave Lindstrom 79:48

Hold on.

Dave Lindstrom 79:49

Certainly voting is one of the most important rights that we have as a country and I support encourage everyone to get out to do that. I think we ought to make sure, I do believe that when we just as we go to make a loan in a business or, have to show ID and at the airport that people need to identify themselves when we are voting so that we make sure that voting is the integrity of the system. But it is our one of our most important rights and I support it. And I encourage people to get out there and vote, because that's I think, the more people that get out and vote, the better it is for all of us, including my candidacy.

Vanessa Vaughn West 80:43

Thank you, Barbara. Okay, what are your thoughts? Am I muted? No. Okay,

Barbara Bollier 80:48

No.

Barbara Bollier 80:51

Thank you. And, of course, in the NAACP, I mean, the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Lyndon Johnson passed that during our major civil rights movement in this country. And it was specifically because black Americans were being systematically denied the opportunity to vote by all kinds of maneuvering. That is absolutely unacceptable. And it was and that's why we passed that law. So of course I support it. What do we new need to do now though? We are finding other ways that people use to inhibit people's right to vote. And I am very firm in my belief that the opposite should be happening and we should be doing everything we can to help people vote. Let's start with sending everybody their ballot. We can still keep voting in person in place, but we know in states that they send everyone a ballot, a vote by mail, they have higher rates of turnout. And that absolutely should be our goal is that everybody has the opportunity and does exercise their right to vote, and we should not be getting in the way at all but helping. So yes, I absolutely support that. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 82:19

Thank you. And what about you, Brian Matlock?

Brian Matlock 82:24

Yeah, but I absolutely support the Voting Rights Act. And I do believe that some of the restrictions that are being put on are not commensurate with any identifiable problem. Most people aren't willing to do federal crime in order to have one extra vote. And so like there are a lot of threats to democracy. But some of the voter ID laws and the restrictions on mail-in ballots and things are shown to reduce the amount of people who should be voting rather than stopping many people from voting that shouldn't be. And I think we should focus a lot on how do we improve the responsiveness and participation in our democracy. And so I support automatic voter registration. I support moving to rank choice or score voting. And as well as like we need campaign finance reform, so that it's not all of the corporations deciding who's running for and who gets the media who gets all of these things, and then who, like hamming all the legislation. So I think we need a lot more responsive democracy at all levels and definitely want to see more people supporting or participating in voting.

Vanessa Vaughn West 83:47

Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 83:52

And Mr. Robles, you can go ahead if you would close this out on this issue related to the Voting Rights Act.

Gabriel Robles 83:59

Okay. Well, first of all, it comes back to opportunity, I think, because if you were affluent back in the 50s and 60s, I don't think anyone was going to try to distract you from voting. And it didn't matter what color you were. And actually my old boss and African American professor of law, Andrew Haines, told me that. The worst thing about the way our government is run today is you cannot trust -- and we saw this on TV yesterday, so we're not the only ones that think -- you cannot trust the United States Postal Service to genuinely handle ballots in the mail. So I would, first of all, I would tell people, if you can go to the polls, please go to the polls. And if I was elected to the Senate, the corruption in government, including the United States Postal Service would end. And it would end quickly.

Gabriel Robles 85:08

But the other thing about voting is me and my wife have voted in elections since I can remember. And we didn't necessarily agree with everything President Trump stood for. But we just we knew this. He was not a career politician. And so far career politicians have done what has happened to our nation at this time. And that's not good, including allowing whatever it was a chemical attack or a virus to spread in our country, with it seemed to have no bounds. So voting has always been important to us. We hope it's important to people on the fourth, when they go to choose somebody for the Senate for Kansas. And the voting the Voting Rights Act as it was written, everything about it was just perfect, as far as we were concerned. Thank you.

Vanessa Vaughn West 86:14

Great. Thank you very much. So this is our last question for the candidates. So we'll have this question and then we'll turn it to final remarks. But this is, this is a really a summary question and that is when the 117th Congress convenes in January of 2021, there'll be many, many issues to tackle, some of them we've discussed today like coronavirus, and healthcare and unemployment and housing, civil unrest, racism, demands for police reforms, immigration and so so much more.

Vanessa Vaughn West 86:45

Why are you the best candidate to represent Kansas in the senate during the most challenging, this was challenging time that we've seen. Let's see. We will start with Mr. Linstrom on this one.

Dave Lindstrom 87:03

Thank you, Vanessa, for that question. It's hard to believe that all the challenges that are mentioned in the question are actually real. And sometimes when you turn the TV on today, you think you're watching an episode of Twilight Zone. And it really is remarkable in a bad way. Kansans and Americans are looking for someone who represents our values. Our values in Kansas are welcoming, hardworking, willing to sacrifice and to put interests of others above their own. They're looking for someone to serve. For the sake of serving, not for the sake of self serving. They're looking for someone with the right combination of authenticity, of toughness, of temperament, of community service, of public service, and also they're looking for business background, business experience. I'm not trying to climb the next rung on the ladder, to get elected, or reelected so that I can be somebody. We have a lot of that. But you don't get it from this candidacy. I successfully ran my own business for 25 years. And I was successful, not because I spent more than I took in, which seems to be, as I mentioned before, the standard operating procedure in Congress these days. I'm not beholding to special interest. I'm only beholding to you, the voters of Kansas. And that's why I'm in this race. I ask you for your vote. God bless Kansas, and God bless the United States of America.

Vanessa Vaughn West 88:38

Thank you, Mr. Robles. You're up next.

Gabriel Robles 88:45

Okay. You know I wrote something down on the fifth of this month. I put you cannot deny opportunity to somebody and afterward blame them for not taking the advantage of opportunities they were denied. What I was going to say about this question was, with the exception of the virus, my wife and I have pretty much been in in the phrase area, of "been there, done that." We have been through healthcare. We're dealing with that right now. And we will deal with it, believe you me. We have dealt with unemployment, with civil unrest, police brutality against minorities, and immigration. We have actually done our due diligence, when it comes to being denied our civil and constitutional rights on these issues. And everything is documented. So you know, if anybody wants to look into our background, they'll find it. We are poor, and we survive on a very little. But we're happy. We're Christians. We we try to live by the, as they say, Golden Rule. If I get elected to the Senate, we're going to make sure our colleagues in the Senate and in the House understand that we're not on Capitol Hill to get rich or to be celebrities. Our true agenda will simply be honesty, America is first, law and order, and reform of our media system. There's something wrong with our media, when the FCC person can talk to me on phone and say it's okay for them to lie, because the First Amendment covers covers it. And I don't think a lot of people know that. But I requested a recording of that conversation from the FCC and got it so I have this guy telling me it's okay to lie, for the media to lie to people. And as far as I'm concerned, that's not okay. And as

Vanessa Vaughn West 91:11

Okay, I think we may have lost your audio, Mr. Robles. I'm not sure what happened. But I will go ahead and throw it to Brian Matlock for closing for response to this question, which in essence are really closing remarks.

Brian Matlock 91:29

Excuse me.

Brian Matlock 91:31

My entire life has been being involved in and serving in the community. And I think it is clear from my life that my values and my priorities are in the right place. Like I am wanting to be a public servant and not a ruler. I'm surrounding myself with directly affected people, hearing them and like listening to the types of solutions that are actively going on. I am an economist. And so many of the large problems have been caused by this area era of globalization and corporate domination of almost every single industry. And the growing inequality and people being squeezed out with health care, housing, education costs and living. I think I am best positioned to deal with that I have the most robust policy sets, and we need to make sure that we don't open our economy to a great depression. The possibility of mass evictions or business closures in state and local governments having to lay everybody off is immense. If we do not act, I know the toolset. I'm ready to decisively act and provide leadership on addressing our economic crisis that we have on our hands. And so let's get to work.

Vanessa Vaughn West 93:01

Thank you. And last but not least, we'll turn to Senator Barbara Bollier.

Barbara Bollier 93:08

Thank you, Vanessa. And thanks to all of you who have taken the time to listen today. It is so important to hear one another and understand what candidates do represent. So keep checking us out. For me why I am the candidate that you want to vote for. We are in an historic public health crisis, among many other things that are affecting our economy. And we need more doctors at the table. Why a doctor? First, we know how to listen, not listen to just respond, but listen to understand and take that understanding and assess the data, which means following science. And we talked today about so many things that require science and knowledge and the ability to follow that very specific data. And once we've assessed those things and understand what people are needing. Our job is to collaborate with others. And that means working across difficult barriers at times, particularly in Washington where people don't seem to want to work together. And we must bring that to the table and find solutions and actually know how to move those solutions forward. You can't go to Washington, just with a good idea. You need to know how to move a bill forward. I have a proven record of doing that in the legislature of working together and moving things forward and solving big problems. An example: the horrible Brownback tax plan that caused us to lose so much revenue in the state that we couldn't pay our bills. Interestingly, I would also be the first woman physician elected to the United States Senate. We need that voice heard in Washington. And finally, I have a servant's heart. This is about serving you, the people and your values and my values, all the people's values. It's about all of us having that neighbor to neighbor, Kansas value taken to Washington and represented well, so I look forward to serving you. And thank you for your vote.

Vanessa Vaughn West 95:29

Thank you. With that, I want to thank all of our participants today, Brian Matlock, Dave Lindstrom, Barbara Bollier and Gabriel Robles. You all have given us your time. You've provided very impassioned and insightful, well thought out responses that have have allowed us to have an openness to the worldview as well as differentiation points which will help us at the polls. We know that it is not an easy job or decision to run for office that takes courage and conviction. And we thank you all for your service and your commitment to the people of Kansas and for your time and joining us today. As we wrap up, I do want to definitely acknowledge our partners and our sponsors, first of which is the Johnson County Latina Leadership Network, as well as the climate Council of Greater Kansas City, which has provided all of the audio visual and technical support for us today. We have Kansas City, All Souls United Unitarian Church of Shawnee Mission, as well as the I'm sorry, the Kansas City All Souls United Unitarian Church as well as the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church. We have the Grandview Park Presbyterian Church, the Olathe Latino Leadership Network, Omega Psi Phi, the Johnson County League of Women Voters, Peaceworks, Friends of Community Media, and last but not least, of course, the Kansas City NAACP. There are some individuals that I want to thank who've been very integral in preparation and putting on this event, the first of which is Bob Grove, who's working behind the scenes to keep us connected and managing the technology, the second of which is Darnell hunt, who many of our candidates interfaced with as we were preparing for this event and has really led the organization of this event. And there are many countless others including Dr. Glenda Overstreet Vaughn who provided remarks at the beginning of today's workshop, as well as Miss Kenya, your last name is escaping me, Kenya Cox, the Kansas NAACP president Kenya Cox. Thank you for your opening remarks and your leadership and your organization's leadership in this event. As we wrap today, I want to encourage everyone to visit the visit this site this YouTube link again to rewatch the recorded broadcast, which will be up for many days. And as you all know, polls are currently open, you have the ability to vote, by mail as well as to vote in person. And then the Election Day, as we all know is August 4. So with that, it has been my pleasure to be your moderator and MC for today. And we look forward to everyone being involved in the political and democratic process. Thank you.

NotesEdit

  1. Jim McLean (10 July 2020), "Mail it in: More voters are asking for mail ballots", The Kansan, Wikidata Q97927022.
  2. Douglas R. Heidenreich (1992), "Professor Andrew W. Haines—A Personal Reminiscence", William Mitchell Law Review, 18 (1): 1–5, ISSN 0270-272X, Wikidata Q97927670.
  3. Lucille Roybal-Allard (10 June 2019), "American Dream and Promise Act of 2019", congress.gov, Wikidata Q97928413.